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Normally the way a spoon would be kashered (in most circumstances) is taking a pot of boiling water, then dropping the spoon in.

Instead, could I put a spoon in a pot of cold water, then bring the whole thing to a boil?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Apparently not. Rema (Orach Chaim 452:1) says that "hag'alah is worthless if the water isn't boiling," and that therefore "one must be careful not to insert any dishes [to be kashered] until the water boils." (Chok Yaakov there adds that, for the same reason, there must be a pause between putting in one utensil and the next, since the insertion of a cold object cools off the water for a few seconds.)

The problem, it seems, would be that if it's done the way you suggest, then the pot will absorb the non-kosher substance from the spoon, and then the spoon will re-absorb it from the pot (or from the water).

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"one must be careful not to insert any dishes [to be kashered] until the water boils." Are you sure it's not "unless the water boils", which would not disqualify water that starts cold and subsequently boils? –  WAF Jan 23 '11 at 21:06
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He says "ושלא יכניס הכלים עד שירתיחו המים," which means just that - that the water has to be boiling before the utensils are put in. –  Alex Jan 23 '11 at 21:46
    
I thought he's saying you don't have to do that since you are doing it at the time of heter (the insert of the Rema breaks up the reading of the Mechaber which should be read together). According to our minhag of waiting 24 hours, these issues should not be a problem either. The Rema is adding that although the Mechaber is lenient to kasher in yad soledes because anything that gets reabsorbed is nat bar nat l'hetera, many hold that you need boiling to kasher, so make sure your pot doesn't cool down while you're still kashering. –  YDK Jan 23 '11 at 23:16
    
Although point taken that if it would be issura bala, you would need to be careful. So what would be the issue if the taam goes back in, if it will subsequently go out when it boils at the end? –  YDK Jan 23 '11 at 23:27
    
OK, fair enough - your two points seem to be equivalent, respectively, to what Magen Avraham (:3) and Machatzis Hashekel (:4) say. You might still need to kasher the kashering pot itself if you do it that way, though. –  Alex Jan 24 '11 at 15:25
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